I’ve worked with many small businesses, and have helped them turn their websites around. I can’t believe how simple and ineffective some of their websites are. Some look as if they were designed by the owner’s ten year old nephew, and others just fail to capitalize on attracting users to their site. In 2010, almost every single client, lead, or customer will turn to the internet before the yellow pages when looking for information. They will look at the results Google shows them, and if you aren’t registering on the charts, you’re missing out of a lot of business. In fact, 90% of people don’t leave the first page of Google results; just imagine the traffic and business you could gain if you appeared there.
Don’t skimp on your website!
I think it’s crazy that some clients of mine will spend thousands on print advertising, billboards, airing radio commercials, and more, but don’t see the value in online marketing. When done right, online marketing for local businesses will bring the highest ROI, and it’s highly measurable. In fact, almost every single metric can be tracked, giving you the ultimate advantage if you know what to look for and how to exploit your site’s strengths.
One of the most important things I can recommend – do not skimp on your website. It’s the visual representation of your company. Imagine the conversions you’ll get from a site that looks good, and was built by a professional who knows how to include calls-to-action, email marketing integration, and writes solid code that attracts search engine spiders.
It’s perhaps even more important to have a website that’s good at what it does, that brings value to its visitors. A good website is also scalable, meaning that you should be able to easily update it, change the look and feel, and add features without taking the whole thing down. That’s one reason I recommend WordPress to my clients – it offers unparalleled ease of use and has worldwide support behind its development.
Communication is key
When you’re talking to someone about building your website, or starting an online marketing campaign, be sure to ask questions. All too often you’ll get some self-professed “expert” who can promise the world but can’t deliver results. Make sure you understand what they’re saying, and don’t get hung up on technical jargon. A good web designer/SEO expert will take time to communicate clearly, and make sure everyone is on the same page in terms of expectations.
Online marketing is easy
This is true, when you know what you’re doing. If you don’t, not so much. But again, this is why you turn to the experts. Would you go to your mechanic to get a tooth pulled?
What it boils down to is:
- Driving targeted traffic to your site.
- Converting them into sales and leads.
- Tracking and measuring your performance.
In this series, I’m going to take you through some of the basics of marketing your local business online. You’ll learn about article marketing, social media marketing, Adwords/SEM, keyword research, email marketing, video marketing, and much more.
I’ll show you tools I use to analyze competition and pick apart what they have done to succeed. We’ll take their methods and do things better. We’ll look at key performance indicators (KPI) such as the bounce rate, pageviews, total visitors, time spent on your site, backlinks, and many other indicators that determine how well your site is doing.
Marketing your local business online is in fact easy. In general, a local market is not as saturated as a national one. There are fewer competitors, and the ones you do face likely won’t be very tough to outdo. You’ll expose yourself to a market that’s close, and interested in what you have to offer.